Not any more they aren’t. While it’s true that remote offices of even the largest corporations have a hard time justifying the construction costs involved in trenching fiber cable so far away from the carrier POPs (Points of Presence), that doesn’t mean they can’t get significant bandwidth at decent prices.
The magic that makes it possible for even out of the way locations to get Ethernet services at Ethernet speeds is called Ethernet over Copper. The copper we’re talking about is standard twisted pair telephone cable. Not only that, it is the same telco cable that is already in the ground. Nearly every business location gets multiple pair cabling installed by the local telephone company during construction. It’s traditionally used for multi-line telephone service and, more recently, to bring in DSL and T1 broadband Internet access. The new way to employ the same old wires is to install specialized equipment to transport Ethernet signals over copper.
Qwest has just announced new Ethernet services for nationwide availability. These include 3 Mbps, 5 Mbps, 7 Mbps and 10 Mbps, all delivered over bonded copper pair. The bonding process is a software solution that combines what are normally separate signals on independent copper wire pairs so that they act as one much higher speed conduit. That process was originally employed by carriers to bond T1 lines to increase bandwidth beyond the 1.5 Mbps T1 limit. With different terminal equipment, those copper pair can now deliver Ethernet services as well. You need up to 8 pair to get the maximum 10 Mbps speed level.
Most smaller businesses and branch offices of medium and larger size businesses can run just fine with 10 Mbps bandwidth for last mile connectivity to MPLS networks, dedicated Internet connections, or Ethernet Virtual LAN service. Since the copper is already in place, construction costs are minimized and service can be deployed rapidly. They are also scalable. You can start off with 3 Mbps bandwidth, if that is all you need, and then scale up to 5, 7 or 10 Mbps as your business level requires.
Is your office, plant site or warehouse struggling with too limited bandwidth because you think that a speed increase is prohibitively expensive? You may be surprised and delighted by how much bandwidth you can get for the same budget you have now. The way to find out quickly is to check prices and availability for Ethernet over Copper service in your area right now.